Chrysostomos of Smyrna

  (Redirected from Chrysostomos Smyrnis)

Chrysostomos Kalafatis (8 January 1867 – 10 September 1922) (Greek: Χρυσόστομος Καλαφάτης), known as Saint Chrysostomos of Smyrna,[1] Chrysostomos of Smyrna and Metropolitan Chrysostom, was the Greek Orthodox metropolitan bishop of Smyrna (Izmir) between 1910 and 1914, and again from 1919 until his death in 1922. He was born in Triglia (today Zeytinbağı), Turkey in 1867, considerably aided the Greek Invasion of Turkey and was killed by a lynch mob after Turkish troops took back the city at the end of the Greco-Turkish War of 1919–1922.[2] He was declared a martyr and a saint of the Eastern Orthodox Church by the Holy Synod of the Church of Greece on 4 November 1992.[3]

Saint Chrysostomos the New-Hieromartyr of Smyrna
Chrysostomos of Smyrna.jpg
Photograph of St. Chrysostomos of Smyrna.
Born8 January 1867
Triglia, Ottoman Empire
Died10 September 1922
Smyrna (now Izmir), Ottoman Empire
Venerated inEastern Orthodox Church
Canonized4 November 1992 by Church of Greece
FeastSunday before the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (7-13 September)
AttributesEpiscopal vestments, usually holding a staff or a Gospel.

Early lifeEdit

Kalafatis was born in Triglia (Zeytinbağı) in 1867, one of eight children born to Nikolaos and Kalliopi Lemonidos Kalafatis. He studied at the historical Theological School of Halki from the age of 17,[3] and served as Archdeacon to Konstantinos Valiadis, the then Metropolitan of Mytilene. Kalafatis served as chancellor and in 1902 became the Metropolitan of Drama, a city in northeastern Greece. His vocal nationalism caused the Sublime Porte to request his removal in 1907, and he eventually returned temporarily to Triglia. In 1910 Kalafatis became the Metropolitan of Smyrna.[3]


Kalafatis had not been in good terms with the Ottoman authorities and he was displaced in 1914. When the Greek army occupied Smyrna in 1919, at the beginning of the Greco-Turkish war, Kalafatis was reinstated to his office as metropolitan bishop. Chrysostomos was on bad terms with High Commissioner Stergiadis (appointed by the Greek Prime Minister Venizelos is 1919) due to the latter's strict stance against discrimination and abuse in dealing with the local Turks, and his opposition to inflammatory nationalist rhetoric used in sermons, which he perceived as too political.[4][5] US diplomat George Horton described how Stergiadis interrupted an important service at the Orthodox Cathedral in Smyrna:[6]

Archbishop Chrysostom (he who was later murdered by the Turks) began to introduce some politics into his sermon, a thing which he was extremely prone to do. Stergiades, who was standing near him, interrupted, saying: "But I told you I didn’t want any of this."

Chrysostomos was an ardent supporter of the cause of Greek nationalism, while Stergiadis was seen by some as behaving in a perversely defeatist manner.[7] Chrysostomos wrote to (no longer Prime Minister) Eleftherios Venizelos in 1922, as Turkish troops were approaching, and shortly before the Great Fire of Smyrna, warning that "Hellenism in Asia Minor, the Greek State and the entire Greek Nation are descending now into Hell," and partially blaming him for his appointment of Stergiadis, "an utterly deranged egotist", even though he was an ardent supporter of Venizelos.[8]


After the defeat and retreat of the Greek army in August 1922, Chrysostomos denied the offer to leave the city and decided to stay.

On 10 September (Julian style – 27 August) 1922, soon after the Turkish army had moved into Smyrna, a Turkish officer and two soldiers took Chrysostomos from the office of the cathedral and delivered him to the Turkish commander-in-chief, Nureddin Pasha. The general decided to hand him over [9] to a Turkish mob who murdered him.

According to French soldiers who witnessed the lynching, but were under strict orders from their commanding officer not to intervene:

"The mob took possession of Metropolitan Chrysostom and carried him away... a little further on, in front of an Italian hairdresser named Ismail ... they stopped and the Metropolitan was slipped into a white hairdresser's overall. They began to beat him with their fists and sticks and to spit on his face. They riddled him with stabs. They tore his beard off, they gouged his eyes out, they cut off his nose and ears."[10]

Bishop Chrysostomos was then dragged (according to some sources,[11] he was dragged around the city by a car or truck) into a backstreet of the Iki Cheshmeli district where he died soon after.[10]

Family SurvivorsEdit

Metropolitan Chrysostomos was survived by his nephews, among whom was Yannis Elefteriades, who witnessed the arrest and execution of his uncle, having found shelter by his side[clarification needed] after the killing of his parents. He escaped as a refugee to Lebanon, where today his grandson Michel Elefteriades is a well-known Greek-Lebanese artist and producer.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Αγιος Χρυσόστομος Σμύρνης – Η Ραφήνα τιμά τη μνήμη του 85 έτη από τον μαρτυρικό θάνατό του Archived 10 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, 10 November 2007. (Greek)
  2. ^ Hannibal Travis (2010). Genocide in the Middle East: The Ottoman Empire, Iraq, and Sudan. Carolina Academic Press. p. 291. ISBN 978-1-59460-436-2. The archbishop was among those massacred during the next month in the Turkish sack of Smyrna.
  3. ^ a b c Αγ. Χρυσόστομος Σμύρνης Archived 21 July 2011 at Municipality of Triglia (Greek)
  4. ^ Clogg, Richard (2013). A Concise History of Greece. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/cbo9781139507516. ISBN 9781139507516.
  5. ^ Mansel, Philip (2010). Levant: Splendour and Catastrophe on the Mediterranean. John Murray. ISBN 9780719567070.
  6. ^ Horton, George (1926). The Blight of Asia, An Account of the Systematic Extermination of Christian Populations by Mohammedans and of the Culpability of Certain Great Powers; with the True Story of the Burning of Smyrna. Bobbs-Merrill. pp. Chapter 10.
  7. ^ Aggelomatis, Chr, "Chronicle of Great Tragedy" (The Epic of Asia Minor), Estia, 1963
  8. ^ Llewellyn Smith, Michael (1998). Ionian Vision: Greece in Asia Minor, 1919-1922. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. p. 302. ISBN 9781850653684.
  9. ^ [George Horton,The Blight of Asia,ISBN 960-05-0518-7,p.126]
  10. ^ a b Milton 2008, pp. 268–269.
  11. ^ Aggelomatis, Chr, "Chronicle of Great Tragedy" (The Epic of Asia Minor), Estia, 1963, pp. 231-2
  12. ^ [The lost descendants of Hellenism: The Antiochian Greeks] [1]


Further readingEdit

Horton has been an American Consul in various positions in Asia Minor for thirty years and was an eye witness of both the Armenian and the Greek Genocide.

External linksEdit